"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fire-Breathing Dragon

What Lily seems to be doing:

What Lily is thinking about doing:
Detail of photo above...
What I think about what Lily's thinking...

You have to click on the photo...Haha...
Tuesday was ride #3. Lily had had 3 days off from riding, and I had started ramping up the length of her hand walks with the vet's okay. We are now at 20 minutes for each hand walk. It's starting to get tedious, especially when done at times when the horses are turned out. I've started taking her out onto the main street, where she gets quite excited and we tend to meet things such as kids on mopeds, off leash running German Shepherd dogs (the boy with him was nice enough to grab his collar as we walked by, and the GSD was a good dog-no barking or acting out; he didn't even look at Lily. I gave the boy a huge smile and a thank you-in that split second of holding on to his giant dog he showed more common sense around a horse than a lot of adults I've come across!), Dachshunds running across a field (that was a pretty funny sight...), cars, and we got stalked by a rickety old Chow mix that stopped every time I glared at him.

Lily was fine about the dogs, but tried to bolt away from me with the kid on the moped...AFTER he had swished by us...

So for Tuesday's ride, I gave her 5 mls of Ace by mouth with the honey-covered syringe (she was looking for that syringe the minute she smelled the honey!), and immediately gave her a Stud Muffin after. She really liked this, and searched my hands for more treats.

5 mls you say? But you gave 4 mls last week.
Yes, I just had one of my gut feelings...

I walked her for 20 minutes while catching up with Sally, who was at the barn. I hadn't seen her all last week, and she finally had the wires taken out of her finger! Yay! She's finally allowed to do more with Jez as long as she wears a splint on her finger when at the barn. She took over Jezebel's walks, and I think both of them are happier for it. Jez really misses her mom when she's not around.

Then Lily went into her stall to let the Ace cook.

Charles showed up about an hour after I'd given my mare her sedative, and I set about tacking her up. It was close to feeding time by then. Actually it was feeding time, but the guys fed later than usual. Lily didn't look quite as sedate as I would have liked her to, especially given that I'd increased the amount of drug, and by the time I took her to the outdoor, she'd had her sedative on board for an hour and 20 minutes. She should have been looking gorked.

I got on uneventfully with Charles holding her head. She stood for a minute, and then I gently nudged her.

Cue buck.

WTF???!! We had a nice little battle of backing up and refusing to go forward. I circled Lily several times, but she would not go forward in a straight line. She was balled up and super tense, and I knew if I nagged her too much she would explode again. So I had Charles lead us around the arena, like a kid on a pony ride. If he let go of the rein, Lily would give me tense ears and stop. So we got led around for 5 minutes, and she started to relax. He let go, and Lily finally walked around.

She was a good girl for the rest of the ride, especially considering that the 4 geldings in the paddock next to the outdoor arena were galloping around and pretending to be fighting stallions, as you can see in the photo above... She didn't even look at them.

Look at the geldings acting like 2-year-old colts on the other side of the fence...*lol* They're all in their teens!!
Note Lily's ears flicked towards me anyway. :)

Video of her walking. I think her walk looks great, though it's a little hard to assess: she was dragging her toes as a result of the sedative, and we were walking in a circle around the jumps in the center of the arena so we could stay out of the other rider's way.

She appears calm, but there is this little snort that she'll do, even at a walk, when she's upset. I call it her fire-breathing dragon snort. It's not a big sound, but it is a stress indicator in her. She was doing it the entire time. :(

Why the bad behavior? That's 2 out of 3 rides where she has acted out. Here is my list of reasons:

1. Her back is sore.
Her back really is sore, which is to be expected in a horse with a soft tissue leg injury. Her entire back, from withers to tailhead. Jez's back has been in the same state, which is why Sally decided that we're not riding her anymore for awhile, until her back is better. The vet knows they are back sore, and it is why Lily is on Previcox. Dr. R wants me to ride her regardless to keep her engaged. I've been riding in the Alta Escuela, which, since Lily has filled out a bit again, fits better and has a flexible tree. But I think I'll try the dressage saddle next time, which is just lighter. This is why I've chosen to ride Lily only 3 days a week, with breaks, vs 6 days a week like Dr. R wanted.

2. She used to get sedated at some point during her time with the cowboy.
Just a wild guess, but it would explain some of the acting out. She'll act out like this when she gets flashbacks.

3. She has ulcers.
Just a suspicion, but her acting out has been in response to leg touches on her belly. She was REALLY sensitive on her belly when I got off and poked and prodded her stomach. Like, super flinchy. She has NEVER been like that before. :( It could be a result of the stall rest, the Previcox, or both...

4. A combination of some or all of the above.
Yeah, I think I'd have a flying fit too.

I talked to Dr. R today, and we're stopping the Previcox for now. Tomorrow I'm picking up more methocarbamol (Robaxin) and a 1 week supply of GastroGard, while waiting for my AbGard order to arrive. AbGard is a generic form (omeprazole) of GastroGard that originally became available overseas (in Australia or New Zealand) and is being sold by a company called Abler. It was recommended by my barn manager, who works in the veterinary industry. Several of the boarders at the barn use this version, with great success. You can buy AbGard WITHOUT a prescription! And it is a fraction of the price of GastroGard. If you buy the Stable Pack, which has 4 syringes that will dose 5 horses each, it is $200. $200 vs $900+ for a 20 day supply of GastroGard. They have a slew of other omeprazole products that I want to find out more about for later, but for now, our barn uses the AbGard.

Just passing the info along, in case anyone else out there needs it! :)

Oh, and today I also filed a claim with Lily's insurance company for her radiographs and ultrasound. They might cover the cellulitis too. They immediately faxed the paperwork to Dr. R, who filled it out today and texted me to let me know she'd done it (isn't she awesome?) They're sending me some paperwork to fill out via snail mail. I will keep everyone posted as to how that goes, as I know a lot of people in the blogosphere have been wondering about equine insurance.